Industry Weekly

[First Sip]

Premium product Mixwell is on the rise

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Celebrated bartender Billy Ray knows what it takes to make a memorable cocktail. The founder of consulting firm 13 Stitches, who also helped launch heralded LA speakeasy Blind Barber, noticed the need for a better mixer, and Mixwell was born.

“I love drinking whiskey gingers, hardballs and gin and tonics,” Ray says. But when 80 percent of your drink is a mixer, the ingredient needs to be perfect. “I really wanted to get into this market to have a better option—from a bartender to a bartender. That was really important to me.”

Mixwell’s range of premium sodas includes three key flavors: young ginger ale, dandelion tonic water and Mojave grapefruit soda. Crafted in LA, each can comes with a resealable lid. The can is the first of its kind, though it could easily become essential for cocktail enthusiasts.

Now available in Las Vegas at Lee’s Discount Liquor, Wynn Las Vegas, Cosmopolitan and Total Wine & More, Mixwell is expanding quickly, bringing its sodas to the masses. And one percent of all sales go to help bartenders who struggle with addiction, Ray says. “It’s really prevalent in our industry, and I want bartenders to know that they’re not alone.”

Ray knows bartending is a tough yet rewarding gig. Mixwell celebrates that profession. “I feel like we have so much to say, and who we are gets really lost in [the] ‘your job is to make my drink’ kind of thing. Whether you’re working at a flair bar, Herbs and Rye or at Vesper, you never really get to hear the amazing stories of these people. No one ever asks, why do you bartend? Why do you love it? [At Mixwell], we want to celebrate them.”

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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